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Divots

Chambersburg's Rotz takes shot at U.S. Open qualifier

Chambersburg's Rotz takes shot at U.S. Open qualifier

June 04, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

When Chambersburg's Clayton Rotz tees it up on Monday, it won't just be another day "at the office."

The 17-year-old will be in the U.S. Open sectional qualifying field at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., playing 36 holes for one of four qualifying positions in the U.S. Open June 15-18 at Winged Foot Country Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

"It feels great to be on that list, but it's a little overwhelming right now," said Rotz. "I know this is going to be a great experience."

With no fewer than 20 of the players in the field currently playing on the PGA Tour, chances are slim that Rotz can bust through the field on the North Course at Woodmont, which will play at 7,045 yards and par 72.

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To top things off, Rotz and Ryan Healy, of Ellenville, N.Y., will have a tour veteran, Tommy Armour III, in their threesome.

"I've never played with anyone of that caliber," Rotz said. "I've got nothing to lose. There are no expectations. I'm going into it with an open mind. I hate to say the course doesn't set up well for me. ... It's not that long and it's not too tricky."

Rotz, who played a practice round at Woodmont last week, just wants to make sure he is firing on all cylinders.

For a youngster who has experienced golf as a member of the Dunhill Junior World Cup team playing at St. Andrews, Scotland, and at the U.S. Amateur last year, Rotz is adding impressive entries to his golf resume.

"If anything, I'll have good stories to tell my friends," he said. "I'm really looking forward to going down there. The successful pros have had to go through this qualifying at one point in their life. This will give me an opportunity to test my game against theirs and see where I am at."

Will Rotz try to bend the ears of Armour for any pointers?

"I'm thinking I can get some pointers, but we'll see how it goes," he said.

Rotz will also have his coach, Woodmont's Wayne DeFrancesco, in the threesome in front of him. Rotz's father, Lynn, will carry his bag.

Rotz carded a 71 two weeks ago in a local qualifier at Carlisle Country Club to reach the sectional qualifier. This is the first time he has made the sectional in four tries.

Joey Sindelar, Notah Begay III, Glen Day, Carlos Franco, Steve Pate and Ted Tryba are among the professionals in the field at Woodmont.

Sectional qualifiers are being held throughout the country Monday. Those making the grade will join the 79 exempt players in the U.S. Open field.




Tim Koelble's Divots column appears on Sundays. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311 or by e-mail at koelble@herald-mail.com

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